2013 NFL Combine: Bears Prospect Updates from Day 1 and 2
We're just two days into the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, but a few developments can be of interest to Chicago Bears fans.
Of course, Saturday was the day we got to watch offensive-line drills—a position many think should be a high priority for the team.
We'll assume that both Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher will be long gone by the time the Bears pick, and we'll focus instead on some of the late first rounders.
Lane Johnson had a great day and really showed why he's been considered a fringe first rounder since the beginning. His positional drills were outstanding, and there were few moments where he didn't dominate the other tackles.
With the Bears picking at No. 20, Johnson should be in play assuming he continues to keep his momentum up post combine and if the coaches likes what they see on film—and I'd imagine they would.
Another tackle who stood out and will make everyone go back to the film room was Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Terron Armstead. He flew down the field with a 40 time of 4.71, which for his size is ridiculous.
Armstead showed some great athleticism for his size in the positional drills and looks like he can more than hold his own at the pro level.
Here's the caveat though—even when you look at his film, how much can you tell from a guy who played at such a low level of competition?
Most sites and analysts had him with a third- or even fourth-round grade. Now he's flying up draft boards.
We get at least one workout warrior a year, a guy who tests well but underwhelms when he straps on an NFL jersey.
Is Armstead this year's guy? The Bears will have to take a very close look at the film to make sure if they do take him, that he's the real deal.
One guy who stood out to me for all the wrong reasons was Alabama lineman D.J. Fluker. I haven't been a huge fan of his, though I like his tape. However, I came away unimpressed with his drills on Saturday.
Fluker is a huge guy and moves like it. He doesn't look like a guy who can kick out to block an edge-rusher, and the doubts I had about him as a tackle were only enhanced by watching him in drills.
Of course, just as you don't overreact to an overly good combine performance, you don't overreact to a bad performance either. I will go back and watch his games again to see if it's a case of him really being that lead-footed or if he plays faster than he looks.
Another position of interest to Bears fans is definitely tight end.
Both top prospects—Stanford's Zach Ertz and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert—looked great in the drills, showing off speed, agility and good hands as well. I especially loved the way Eifert snatched the ball out of the air when catching it without losing a step.
Ertz showed some incredibly tight routes and looked comfortable catching the ball. He looked as if he were a slightly thicker receiver running with the tight ends.
I give the edge to Eifert because I love the aggressive way he goes after the ball, but the Bears would be well served by taking either player. Ertz or Eifert would absolutely fill the need for a dynamic tight end.
There is one guy on some fans' radar who wasn't doing drills on Saturday but made news anyway.
Yes, Manti Te'o faced the vicious media swarm on Saturday, and it went exactly as I (and everyone else) expected.
He handled it beautifully, and why shouldn't he have? He had months to prepare.
Know what would have been a story? If he had handled it poorly. But he's been coached for weeks—he should nail that media maelstrom.
Interestingly enough, there was one part of the interview I didn't like, and to be sure I watched it twice.
Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN in Minnesota (who incidentally said out of 36 questions, 20 were on the fake girlfriend) asked him what happened in the National Championship Game.
After all, if there is a smudge on his resume, it's that game.
Here's what Te'o told the media:
Why didn't Te'o play well vs. Bama? "That’s 'cause I didn’t. That’s all on me. I played hard, and so did my team. ... (cont'd)— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 23, 2013
"... But Alabama had a great game plan and so did we. It’s just they executed better than we did."— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 23, 2013
I hate that answer, I really do.
I'm not saying he needs to break film down, but "I didn't play well because I didn't play well" is crap and so is "We had a good game plan and so did they."
To me, that non-answer was worse than anything he could have said regarding the catfishing scandal.
Teams will push him hard on that game. For his sake, I hope he has a better answer because I can bet you that's a bigger concern than a fake girlfriend.
I'm not saying the Bears should avoid him, but I hope if they interview him they find out what happened. Because that game was terrible for him and Notre Dame, and if he can't handle Alabama, he's going to have a rough time handling the NFL.
**All notes above are from watching the combine footage unless otherwise noted.**
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